Heading to the High Country to Cook Low Country

Heading anywhere with a group for the weekend far away from civilization posits a food conundrum: What should I bring? How much should I bring? Will my beer fit in the cooler with all that food in there?

My group of friends has stayed together for the weekend several times, and we have come up with a pretty good plan to eliminate waste and save money: we divy up meals into breakfast and dinner, and each person or couple is responsible for taking charge of one meal, as well as their own snacks for lunch. This plan seemed like the perfect idea for my family’s trip to our cabin in Florence, Wisconsin this weekend.

I was only slightly self conscious about showing my mumps-like face in public today. But I needed to get my grocery shopping done, so I made myself as presentable as possible before heading out.

Too hard to smile yet!

I got most of the dry stuff earlier this week, but I wanted to wait until today to pick up the fresh fruits and veggies. I’m keeping it healthy and delicious for lunch snacks with:

Some of the loot.

  • homemade granola bars
  • apples (both dried and fresh)
  • cherries
  • jerky (beef for Dave, vegan tempeh for me….I’m curious)
  • string cheese (tomato basil flavored!)
  • veggies for dipping
  • hummus (I usually make my own, but Tribe was on sale for only 99 cents–too good to pass up!)
  • sweet potato chips
  • pita chips

Dave and I are in charge of Friday night dinner, and I knew just what I wanted to make: a Low Country Boil. Dave had another idea at first but eventually agreed the cabin was a perfect place to test this recipe out. I think the main reason he changed his mind was because he was excited to buy a new cooking tool:

A ginormous 21 quart stock pot.

I first read about the one-pot wonder of a Low Country Boil in a summer issue of a food magazine, and the idea has enchanted me ever since. I love to make an experience out of meals, and cooking a mixture of finger-friendly foods and tossing them on a pile of newspapers to devour just sounds, well, fun!

Because Dave and I are both fans of Alton Brown, we originally wanted to do his Crawfish Boil. Unfortunately, both live and frozen crawfish were just too expensive, so we decided to go with the traditional low country boil protein of choice, shrimp (which is still expensive if you don’t live on the coast, but less so).

Low Country Boil (serves 10-12)

  • 4 lbs small red potatoes
  • 5 quarts water
  • 2 lbs sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (recommendations: kielbasa, andouille, or chorizo)–I got Tofurkey Kielbasa because Woodman’s was sold out of the natural Applegate Farms Chicken Andouille Sausage
  • 6 ears of corn, halved
  • 4 lbs large shrimp, deveined
  • seasoning (see below)
  • cocktail sauce, butter, and lemon wedges for serving

Add potatoes to large pot, then add 5 quarts water and seasoning. Cover pot and heat to a rolling boil; cook 5 minutes. Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain.

Source: Coastal Living

Seasoning: Most people use a combination of Old Bay and Crab Boil seasoning. However, I wanted to pay tribute to Alton and make my seasoning from scratch with his recipe. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 1 lb kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • bay leaves, crumbled
I ground the whole spices, then combined them with everything but the salt, which I’ll wait to add until we’re cooking.
For sides, we’re serving Alton’s Creamed Corn Cornbread.
This will be cooked in a skillet over the fire. And for veggies, I’m serving up a simple broccoli slaw salad. Though the Low Country Boil is filled with a medley of foods, greens aren’t one of them, and I don’t count corn as a super healthy vegetable, given how starchy and high cal it is.
Instead I’m just going two mix two bags of broccoli slaw with this dressing to get my greens fix.

Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard or djion type mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried  basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
I decided to break out of the s’mores box for campfire dessert and try to recreate something I saw on Pinterest: strawberries dipped in marshmallow fluff, then roasted over the campfire until golden brown.

Don’t those look good? My sister Moriah doesn’t even like sweets and she thought this idea sounded great.

Snacks? Check. Dinner entree? Check. Sides? Check. Dessert? Check. That leaves…..imbibables!
  • 12 pack of Killian’s
  • 12 pack of Fat Tire medley
  • 1 bottle Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey
  • 1 bottle Skinny Girl Pina Coladas

With all the delicious food and drinks we’re bringing, it should be a good weekend…here’s hoping I will get to eat most of it!


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